Jesus said to His disciples, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.”
Beware of false prophets. In the Old Testament, prophets are persons who speak for God and in the name of God. Prophets are bearers of God’s Word. The Gospel warns us to beware of false prophets. But how do we distinguish false prophets from true ones? Both may preach of love and mercy, appear meek and gentle, and quote Scripture.
By their fruits you will know them, says Jesus. Their character and the way they live their lives declare if the prophets come from God. The words from their lips must find completion in the works of their hands.
True prophets lead people to God and not to themselves. If they are only after their selfish interests and are motivated by popularity and glory, they are not true prophets of God. An early Christian treatise, Didache (The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles), gives a criterion for recognizing a true prophet. It says, “If he stays for three days, he is a false prophet. Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord. Do not, however, allow him to stay more than one day, or, if need be, two. If he remains for three days, he is a false prophet. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet. By his behavior, then, the false and true prophet shall be known” (11, 4).
Anyone truly preaching and working for Jesus is willing to accept the cross and carry it to the end, to serve and work at the background. He is not afraid to preach that following Jesus is the way of the cross and that being with Jesus entails suffering and sacrifice. The true prophet shows and leads the way of the cross.
What kinds of fruits am I producing for God and for my loved ones?
SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2012,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.,); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.